Learning to drive sustainable practices through smarter technology

As the demand for agricultural commodities rises around the world, the ag industry is recognizing the need for sustainable practices and processes. Sustainable agriculture practices are designed to protect both our natural environment and our resources, while promoting environmental stewardship and enhancing the quality of life for farmers and producers. To achieve this new approach to agribusiness, the industry must embrace the tools of success, including smart technology, data analysis algorithms and connectivity devices.

This demand for more sustainable practices has grown over the last decade, changing the industry’s focus from productivity to sustainability. From increasing concerns over weather changes, to the rapidly growing world population and the constantly changing business environment within the ag industry, there are strong drivers to achieve success.

Today’s agribusiness leaders are establishing their sincere motivation to achieve measurable and manageable practices across the value chain. From farmers and ranchers to agronomists, ag retailers, buyers and manufacturers, there are clear changes needed to achieve sustainable practices, including building trusting partnerships within the industry and creating work standards across the industry that make employees proud.

The emergence of smart farming tools and discussions around regenerative agriculture are driving industry leaders to look for solutions. And the technology available today could provide us the path toward those solutions. “Proagrica has stayed very close to the agronomists in developing our algorithms,” says Brandon Buie, Director of Business Development, Enterprise Solutions for Proagrica. “This helps us remain close to the science of improving production and the utilization of resources and reducing waste. While still helping producers to achieve the level of production and the quality to serve their customers.”

In order to truly improve sustainability efforts across the ag industry, technology, data analysis and connectivity must be enhanced to allow:

Improved Communications

Communication plays a vital role in strategy, execution and sustainability. Communication and connectivity allow team members to discuss challenges, share solutions and keep in contact regarding shared goals. For farmers who have experienced connectivity struggles for decades, the ability to trust their technology and rely on their ability to communication and transmit information changes their daily practices in significant, positive ways.

Stronger Partnerships. 

“Agriculture is such a huge industry, and in so many ways, the most important industry. Yet, it is fragmented; what we need is a true value network – not a supply chain – but a value network,” says Lindsay Suddon, Chief Strategy Officer for Proagrica. True partnerships and a culture of sharing information allows members of the industry to learn from the successes and failures of others, to more quickly identify efficiencies and to celebrate shared successes.

Algorithms and Answers

According to estimates by IBM, by the year 2020, there will be 300 times more data and information available than we had in 2005. In order to advance sustainable practices in agribusiness, we must not only utilize the available data, but understand how to analyze it to find answers and use it to create improved algorithms. “We need more data and we need it from multiple sources,” says Mr. Buie. “Proagrica understands the importance of integrating with our customer’s systems to provide actionable insights. That is the way forward.”

Proactive Planning

Utilizing data to manage and measure results to process changes can help to identify both problems and solutions. The more information that is available and shared, the more proactive farmers and producers can be. “Proactive, rather than reactive, is the key,” says Mr. Suddon. “We must be able to plan for the future or we will never move forward.”

Accountability Across the Industry 

In order to meet the goals shared across the industry, there must also be shared accountability. “We are looking at collaboration between multiple stakeholders, all focused on regenerative practices that move the industry forward,” says Mr. Buie. “This is our opportunity to come together, from manufacturers through the value chain to growers and achieve not only the UN Sustainability Goals, but real sustainability in our daily practices and ensuring more effective and sustainable use of products.”

Looking forward, business leaders at every stage of the agriculture value cycle must take ownership of their responsibilities and the opportunities for innovation and improvement. Obtaining value from data is a complicated process; Proagrica is leading the way, depending on their team of data scientists and expertise in environmental sciences to compile data for their customers, track and trend information gained from the data and use that information to put real-world solutions in place to advance the cause of sustainability and the quest for improved production and quality in agribusiness.


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